The Case for Opera

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Think Opera is stodgy, old-fashioned and out of date? Think opera has had its time centuries ago, and is now reserved for a few older, albeit cultured people with lots of money?

Think again.

– There’s a quiet revolution happening in especially the smaller opera houses of the world stages: Younger people sing their hearts out, attract a younger audience, and are giving opera a whole new reason for being.

Here are the 3 reasons I feel opera is so key to our culture:

1) Opera tells a story. 

Storytelling has been around as long as humans have roamed the earth.

Like it or not, a good story teaches our young how to be and how not to be. While fairy tales are perhaps the most obvious medium for this kind of instruction, opera accomplishes nearly all of the same goals–and it’s set to music!

Story is employed by savvy marketers as a means of gaining trust and likeability.

And story entertains millions of us every day via mainstream media, such as blogs, newspapers, magazines, TV, Radio, theater and movies.

Opera tells stories that are timeless:

The best stories, according to Joseph Campbell, are structured in a mythic way. Meaning, they convey a hero’s journey, from start to finish. From the original challenge, to overcoming major challenges, to the eventual victory, in either personal life, business, culture or society.

By following this blueprint, opera has timeless appeal.

2) Opera’s story rides on top of classical music. 

In scientific studies classical music has been shown to increase brain coherence, happiness and well being, as demonstrated by research with humans, animals and plants alike.

Classical music employs natural sound, with acoustic instruments, instead of amplified, distorted, or electronic sound.

Classical music enhances relaxation, and fuels the brain in a natural way:  

Listening to classical music can lower blood pressure. Classical music has been shown to relieve stress levels, help fight depression, manage pain, and improve sleep quality.

3) Opera singing is athletic full body exercise.

Like exercise, full body singing releases endorphins which make you happier. (TIME magazine)

When you sing, your body releases oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. That helps you reduce depression, low energy, hopelessness and loneliness. (TIME magazine)

Operatic singing is a good workout:

Singing works your lungs, improves circulation, and builds strength in your abdominal and intercostals.

Singing strengthens your immune system, according to research by scientists at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, published in the US Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Plus: Singers tend to have better posture and more self confidence.

So what’s not to like?

Frankly, we all could use a dose of using our full voice, with all these health benefits.

So, the next time you have a chance to take in an opera, do it. And then remember this article.

Ulrike Selleck, multi-passionate founder of  HealingVoiceYoga.com and AllThingsVenus.com, is a holistic Voice Coach, Classical Singer, Performer, Writer, Mother, and Healing Voice Expert with 25 years of experience.

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